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A legal wrangle between the Ministry of Defence and the Baghdad governments means British involvement in Iraq could end sooner than expected.
Mr Hutton is privately furious that Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, has not yet agreed a deal to give British troops "copper-bottomed" legal protection from prosecution when their existing United Nations mandate expires at midnight on 31 December.
British officials in Baghdad are locked in talks with the Iraqi government aimed at agreeing a legally binding promise that troops would not be prosecuted if they killed someone while defending themselves.